How to listen positively when everything around you is so negative?

How to listen positively when everything around you is so negative?

Over the past few months, we have seen a lot of destruction, sorrow, negativity, and violence around us. Most of the cities and nations have literally gone out of control and it has become nearly impossible to manage the situations and the people. I am not an expert of this subject, so I am not going to teach you anything, instead, I will share my experience of learnings that I have gathered through reading, listening, and watching. This might help you make sense out of all that is happening around.

Mostly, an unsuccessful discussion leads to a bigger fight, series of arguments or a protest (when many people are involved). In our Crucial Conversations course, we help people understand that, quite often, during tough discussions, people show two reactions: either they become silent (shutting down or withdrawing) or become violent (show dominance, or anger). While silence indicates that people are afraid of sharing their views, violence can also be looked upon as an attempt to be heard. This is where, in one of our signature programs, we help people understand these two indications of failing conversations and how to take a control of the situation, so that the message is being heard and a meaningful conversation takes place.

On the other hand, there can be exceptions too; people do not always exit a discussion on their own, they are often kept out of a discussion purposefully or systematically. This happens because as human beings, we possess a strong desire of dominating others and thus we end up stopping people by using our authority and power. As a result, this denial pushes people towards a silence of a violence mode.

Together, finding a way out to this global crisis is difficult. However, the key to find a solution lies in having a series of successful and positive conversations with whomsoever you meet. Let me share a few things that can help you listen properly and positively:

1. Check your own story. Mostly, when we listen to people, either we listen too quickly respond or to really understand what they mean. This happens because our minds are capable to make sense of the facts before us. So, in the first case, when you have already made up your mind, it becomes really tough to understand what is being said to us and overcome our own perceptions, judgements, or narrations. When this perception does not coincide with what is being said to us, we tend to understand it as fake or reject it completely.

To be a good listener, we first need to reject our own stories of the mind and listen carefully, with a fresh mind. Acknowledge your story – as a story only, it will help you have more space for the speaker’s narration, yet you will be able to receive the message clearly.

2. Identify the limitations of your data stream. What we all think, is the by-product of the data-stream that has been constructed around us in the form of our social circle, media we consume, neighborhood, co-workers, and everything around us in a tangible or an intangible forms.

What we like or agree to, we like watching or hearing more of it. And when we want to know more about something (like the truth behind it), we search for it. We all can choose the media to consume and expand our data stream; you can do that by listening to videos outside the flavour of your choice, making new friends and listening to their perspectives and so on..

3. Listen for truth. Most of the times, when you find people around you only disagreeing with you, it might be the first type of listening, that happens with a single intent of finding flaws in your argument or statements. In this case, you can request them to ‘listen only’ in the first place, and tell them that yes, whatever I say, you might disagree with 99% of it, But, you might also find something useful out of it.

And try this activity when you’re listening to others also. Have a hold on your own story and try to come at a logical and unbiased conclusion. People are complex, we can balance our relations, conversations and strong moral convictions with empathy and understanding.

We will be heard

We are surrounded with lots of voices and listening alone may not bring back the people who have lost their lives because of the protests, disasters and violence going around. But change can and will happen. The pool of meaning expands when people are heard properly. It’s time to make things easier by listening, for people who’re still striving to make this world a better place to live.


This blog is an adaptation of a recent blog written by Emily Gregory on June 10th -

Have similar questions? Submit your queries directly to Mr. Yogesh Sood at -


Yogesh is the founder and CMD of BYLD Group. BYLD is the largest group in the South Asian region, offering value-added services in HR, Leadership, Organizational Development, Business Operations, Manpower Staffing, Technology, and Executive Coaching. He leads the board of Indian operations of Blanchard Research and Training, Door Training and Consulting, VitalSmarts (LCPL), YOMA group and Aspectum Consulting, Finland. These organisations have expertise in complete organisational development and performance enhancement solutions, including Consulting/Training/Coaching. Yogesh is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and College of Executive Coaching USA. He founded the first ICF (International Coach Federation) chapter in South Asia in 2015.


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